The WTA announced Tuesday that they have suspended the Russian and Belrusian Tennis Federations from membership, canceling the scheduled WTA event in Moscow scheduled for this October.
Joint Statement by the International Governing Bodies of Tennis— wta (@WTA) March 1, 2022
Joint Statement by the International Governing Bodies of Tennis
The move comes after several Ukrainian tennis players called on the WTA to remove events from Russia. Elina Svitolina agreed to compete in a first-round match against Russian opponent Anastasia Potapova only after it was ensured Potapova would be competing under a neutral flag. Svitolina won her match 6-2, 6-1 while wearing Ukrainian colors.
Russian and Belarusian players will still be allowed to compete in international events on Tour and at Grand Slam under a neutral flag.
“A deep sense of distress, shock and sadness has been felt across the entire tennis community following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the past week,” the WTA said in a joint statement with the ATP and the ITF. “Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, and we commend the many tennis players who have spoken out and taken action against this unacceptable act of aggression. We echo their calls for the violence to end and peace to return.”
Calling the safety of the tennis community “our most immediate collective priority,” they say in the statement that they have been focusing on contacting players and other members of the tennis community from Ukraine and neighboring countries to offer assistance and check on their safety.
“The international governing bodies of tennis stand united in our condemnation of Russia’s actions,” they write.
Many other international federations have also taken a stand, banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition at the recommendation of the IOC. FIBA has suspended athletes from all basketball participation while FIFA has suspended Russia from competition, which could keep them out of the 2023 World Cup. The International Skating Union has also barred athletes from competition, including the upcoming world championships.